University of Sussex
Knight et al. - 2019 - Insect-Inspired Visual Navigation On-Board an Autonomous Robot Real-World Routes Encoded in a Single Layer Netwo.pdf (1.02 MB)

Insect-inspired visual navigation on-board an autonomous robot: real-world routes encoded in a single layer network

Download (1.02 MB)
conference contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 19:14 authored by James KnightJames Knight, Daniil Sakhapov, Norbert DomcsekNorbert Domcsek, Alex Dewar, Paul GrahamPaul Graham, Thomas NowotnyThomas Nowotny, Andy PhilippidesAndy Philippides
Insect-Inspired models of visual navigation, that operate by scanning for familiar views of the world, have been shown to be capable of robust route navigation in simulation. These familiarity-based navigation algorithms operate by training an artificial neural network (ANN) with views from a training route, so that it can then output a familiarity score for any new view. In this paper we show that such an algorithm – with all computation performed on a small low-power robot – is capable of delivering reliable direction information along real-world outdoor routes, even when scenes contain few local landmarks and have high-levels of noise (from variable lighting and terrain). Indeed, routes can be precisely recapitulated and we show that the required computation and storage does not increase with the number of training views. Thus the ANN provides a compact representation of the knowledge needed to traverse a route. In fact, rather than losing information, there are instances where the use of an ANN ameliorates the problems of sub optimal paths caused by tortuous training routes. Our results suggest the feasibility of familiarity-based navigation for long-range autonomous visual homing.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version


Proceedings of ALIFE 2019: The 2019 Conference on Artificial Life


MIT Press



Page range


Event name

ALife 2019: the 2019 conference on Artificial Life

Event location


Event type


Event date

July 29 - August 2, 2019

Book title

The 2019 Conference on Artificial Life



Department affiliated with

  • Informatics Publications

Research groups affiliated with

  • Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics Publications
  • Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems Research Group Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Open Access (FOA) Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected